Parental expectations play an important role in the success of adoption or foster placement. We propose a qualitative approach to explore parental expectations based on repertory grid technique with children’s photos as elements. Its main advantage rests on the ability to assess such interrelated aspects of parental expectations as the elaboration of personally important content, the ability to regulate reactions, the presence of stereotypes about adoption, lack of awareness or evasive thinking and specific attitudes towards family members. The article presents rationale, administration and interpretation procedures, the results of an exploratory study of parents from 48 families in order to define preliminary norms for quantitative indexes and a sample of grid analysis to illustrate how the method can be employed in counselling.
Keywords: adoption, repertory grids, family counselling, parental expectations.